Sonder Restaurant and Bar

Son­der is a mul­ti­fac­eted venue designed to func­tion like a tra­di­tion­al local pub whilst look­ing like a styl­ish inner-city bar. Sit­u­at­ed in sub­ur­ban Bentleigh, the brief was to cre­ate a meet­ing place that max­imised appeal for the widest pos­si­ble local audience.

Built to a tight bud­get, this design utilis­es the exist­ing shell, matched with reclaimed fin­ish­es to build its aes­thet­ic. The build­ing was stripped to its raw state to reveal its tex­tures and pati­na. This intend­ed to por­tray authen­tic­i­ty through age, warmth and history.

For broad appeal, the inte­ri­or is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly dressed up and down and con­cep­tu­al­ly runs from inside to out, with sub­tle tran­si­tions designed to de-for­malise it along the way. Dis­card­ed gran­ite off­cuts form a slick large bar top, hand paint­ed PVC pipe light fit­tings glow through­out, and artist paint­ed cush­ions off­set plush vel­vet seat cush­ions. Recy­cled felt pan­els dress the hard sur­faces, pro­vid­ing a warmth and soft­ness and absorb the inte­grat­ed sound system.

Inspired by the building’s orig­i­nal Egypt­ian revival façade, radi­at­ing lines, adorned with abstract­ed fern fronds, spread over head and illu­mi­nate the space. Once out­side, these lines burst into fire­fly buds that lit­ter the sky as the roof is lifted.

Apt­ly named Son­der, mean­ing the real­i­sa­tion that each ran­dom passer­by is liv­ing a life as vivid and com­plex as ones own’ this venue offers a con­sid­ered, com­fort­able and unas­sum­ing envi­ron­ment that wel­comes all.

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